Even if Kolkata woke up to a cloud cover on Saturday, Park Street, Rabindra Sadan and Maidan came alive in seven colours. More than 200 members of the LGBTQIA+ community marched the streets waving rainbow-coloured flags, shouting slogans, flaunting their painted nails and demanding equal love. At least 100 amateur photographers captured the walk with cameras in hand. The first edition of The Rainbow Frame — a pride and photo walk — was a celebration of those who are out and proud. Organised by Fotografía-En, a Facebook community for amateur photographers, the walk aimed at celebrating the Pride Month — June — and build a healthy relationship between the LGBTQIA+ community members and the other strata of society.
Aparajita Majumdar, the founder of the group and the main organiser of the walk, wore a big smile as she said, “Every year, in December, Kolkata witnesses a pride walk. But no one ever did it in June, which is called the Pride Month. So, we thought why not organise a walk, where people from outside the LGBTQIA+ community can also join in. You never know, this might start a new beginning for all of us,” she said.
WALK WITH PRIDE
The walk was flagged off from Park Street at 2 pm. As slogans like “Amar shorir amar mon; dur hok shob rajshashon (My body my mind; stop this interference),” filled the air, there were claps, songs and unlimited cheering from the crowd. The sense of unity and pride was palpable. Cars came to a halt and curious passers-by dropped in to see what was going on. And as they learnt about the pride walk, a few joined in, clapping to the rhythm of the slogans. “People are becoming more receptive. The pace may be slow, but the society has started understanding that we are just like them. Our sexual orientation or choice of gender does not make us any different. So, we can proudly come out of the closet and talk about our life’s choices,” said Atashi Nath, a participant, who has been living with her girlfriend in Kolkata for the past two years.
MY LOVE IS JUST LIKE YOURS
As the march reached the Exide crossing, several participants were seen shouting slogans as they held each other’s hands. Among them were Aparna Gharami and Rama Deb. Aparna said they met two years ago via social media. “During that time, we had different partners. Rama was subjected to abuse and mental torture by her partner and eventually came out of the relationship. During that time, I also had a breakup. Slowly, we became friends and then took the relationship to the next level,” said Aparna, adding that they are looking for an accommodation and will move in together soon. “Initiatives like these reassure us that we are not alone and give us strength. On the other hand, it educates common people about our community. Probably, these walks are the reason that we are getting courage to come out,” said Rama.
Source: Times of India